SELF TREATMENT OF COMMON AILMENTS
common aches and pains can be treated simply at home without the need
to consult a doctor.
Bed sores are far easier to prevent than cure. They are caused by prolonged
pressure to certain parts of the body when lying in bed for long periods.
They can be prevented by encouraging the patient to shift position as
often as possible. Take care to smooth out creases in the bottom sheet
to avoid irritation. If red marks appear at the pressure points such
as heels, elbows, buttocks and hips, inform the doctor before they get
Even in this day and age there is still no magic cure for the common
cold. Go to bed, take plenty of drinks. If you have a headache or are
feverish, take aspirin or paracetamol. Do not bother to take antibiotics
as these will have no effect!
In adults, diarrhoea is usually caused by a viral infection and is therefore
unable to be treated directly. The symptoms can usually be eased by
the traditional kaolin and morphine mixture or by medicines containing
Holiday diarrhoea is often due to bacteria. Again, kaolin and morphine
can be taken.
Consult your doctor if the symptoms persist for more than a few days.
Diarrhoea in very young children and babies needs careful attention.
Most babies have loose bowel action during their first six months due
to their predominantly liquid diet. Sudden bouts of unusually watery
diarrhoea should be treated by taking the baby off solids and feeding
them a cooled solution of boiled water with a teaspoon of sugar and
half a teaspoon of salt to the pint. If the symptoms persist for more
than 24 hours, or are accompanied by vomiting or weakness, consult your
This is an unpleasant illness characterised by high temperature, aches
and pains. The best treatment is plenty of rest and fluids with paracetamol
to relieve aches and temperature. Antibiotics have no effect. If you
are elderly or have a chronic health problem (eg heart disease, chest
disease or diabetes) we would recommend an annual flu jab.
Gastroenteritis describes a group of diseases affecting the stomach
or part of the intestine. Symptoms are often diarrhoea, sickness and
stomach ache. Because the lining of the stomach is likely to be inflamed
medicines are often immediately vomited up.
Large quantities of water, orange juice, milk or thin soup should be
taken to counter the effects of dehydration. Consult your doctor if
symptoms persist for more than a day or, in the case of babies or young
children, six hours.
Most attacks are not serious and are usually caused by indigestion or
wind. A hot water bottle will often relieve the symptoms and, in the
case of indigestion, a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in half a glass
of water will help.
If the pain lasts for longer than eight hours or increases in intensity
you should consult your doctor.
Treat with a cold compress, containing ice if possible, for 15 to 30
minutes to reduce the swelling. Then apply, firmly, a crepe bandage and give the sprain plenty of rest
until all discomfort has subsided.
Further strain will inevitably lead to further swelling and a longer
in a chair, lean forward with your mouth open, and pinch your nose just
below the bone for approximately 10 minutes, by which time the bleeding
should have stopped. Avoid hot drinks or hot food for 24 hours. If symptoms
persist, consult your doctor.
Cuts And Grazes
Wash the wound thoroughly with water and a little soap. To stop bleeding
apply a clean handkerchief or dressing firmly to the wound for about
five minutes. Cover with a clean dry dressing.
Treat as for other burns with cold water to remove the heat. Calamine
lotion will relieve the irritation whilst paracetamol will also help.
Children are particularly susceptible to sunburn and great care should
be taken to avoid overexposure to the harmful effects of the sun.
Bites And Stings
Antihistamine tablets can be obtained from the chemist without prescription
and will usually relieve most symptoms.
Note: bee stings should be scraped away rather than plucked
in order to avoid squeezing the contents of the venom sac into the wound.
These creatures, contrary to popular belief, prefer clean hair and are,
therefore, not a sign of poor personal hygiene. Medicated head lotion
can be obtained from the chemist without prescription.